Cost of Classic Thanksgiving Dinner Down for 2013

Nov 26, 2013 No Comments by

FRESNO – The American Farm Bureau Federation’s 28th annual informal price survey of classic items found on the Thanksgiving Day dinner table indicates the average cost of this year’s feast for 10 people is $49.04, a 44-cent price decrease from last year’s average of $49.48.

The AFBF survey shopping list includes turkey, bread stuffing, sweet potatoes, rolls with butter, peas, cranberries, a relish tray of carrots and celery, pumpkin pie with whipped cream and beverages of coffee and milk, all in quantities sufficient to serve a family of 10. There is also plenty for leftovers.

The big ticket item – a 16-pound turkey – came in at $21.76 this year. That was roughly $1.36 per pound, a decrease of about 3 cents per pound, or a total of 47 cents per whole turkey, compared to 2012. The whole bird was the biggest contributor to the final total, showing the largest price decrease compared to last year.

By nature of the supply-and-demand markets that most farm commodities operate in, farmers end-up being price-takers, not price-setters. The prices farmers or ranchers receive depend on the market conditions the day they harvest/market their crops or livestock. Since it’s driven mostly by supply-and-demand, it rarely takes into account increased input costs. Purchases of fuel and energy, water and irrigation costs, fertilizers and agricultural chemicals, insurance and taxes, equipment and repairs, environmental compliance, new technology, seed and feed for livestock are all production costs that are absorbed by whatever the farmer or rancher receives.

As in the past, Americans will enjoy foods during their Thanksgiving Day celebrations that possibly originated on a Fresno County farm or ranch.

“Central Valley residents have the benefit of living close to the most productive farmland in the world,” said FCFB CEO/Executive Director Ryan Jacobsen. “A diverse variety of wholesome, fresh food is available to us that’s locally grown and highly sought after by the rest of the country and world. Nothing beats produce from our region,” he added.

In fact, the star of the Thanksgiving meal – the turkey – is part of one of Fresno County’s top 10 crops (poultry). In 2012, Fresno County had approximately 3.5 million turkeys in production, weighing in at more than 97.4 million pounds of live weight. During the same year, poultry – including turkeys – was Fresno County’s number three crop, valued at more than $728.5 million, according to the Fresno County Department of Agriculture 2012 Agricultural Crop and Livestock Report.

Fresno County also typically produces many other food items that appear on Thanksgiving dinner tables. Popular food items produced here include:

  • Almonds                                   153,848 acres
  • Asparagus                                3,060 acres
  • Broccoli                                    8,020 acres
  • Cotton (used for table linens)  102,500 acres
  • Grapes
    • Raisins                          180,066 acres
    • Table                             12,007 acres
    • Wine                              63,041 acres
  • Garlic (fresh and processed)   15,800 acres
  • Honey                                       2.2 million pounds
  • Lettuce (head and leaf)            21,320 acres
  • Milk/milk products                    1.36 million tons
  • Olives                                       1,698 acres
  • Onions(fresh and processed)  22,420 acres
  • Oranges                                    23,734 acres
  • Persimmons                             1,066 acres
  • Pistachios                                 34,001 acres
  • Pomegranates                          8,081 acres
  • Sweet Corn                              12,800 acres
  • Wheat                                       38,000 acres

Source: Fresno County Department of Agriculture 2012 Agricultural Crop and Livestock Report

Fresno County also has commercial acreage of sweet potatoes, green beans, fresh and processed carrots, mushrooms, pumpkins and several herbs, including basil, chives, ginger and parsley.

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